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12 Shocking Examples of Police Brutality...Just This Month

Decades of the drug war have warped the priorities of many police departments. The results can be tragic.

 American law enforcement has undergone a dramatic transformation in the past few decades. The war on drugs, the world's most effective way to fill prisons with minorities while doing nothing to curtail drug use, has warped the priorities and practices of police departments around the country. As Kristen Gwynne has reported on AlterNet, federal funding incentivizes police to go after low-level drug use while neglecting more serious crimes like rape. In city after city, the crackdown on drug crime has expanded police power and pointed it straight at minorities and the poor. It's the reason we're number one when it comes to rates of incarceration. With 5 percent of the population, America has a quarter of the world's prisoners, according to the New York Times. 
Meanwhile, the decade-long war on terror has stocked local police departments with weapons from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan—do local police really need drones and tanks? (Journalist Radley Balko has extensively documented the  militarization of police by way of the wars on drugs and terror.) The shift toward more aggressive, violent policing has had tragic results on the ground. AlterNet has assembled an incomplete list of brutal and unnecessary police actions, from this month alone. 
 
 
 

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